The days of recording your daily calories and activities in a journal or food log are over. Technology has grown by leaps and bounds during the last 10 years with no imaginable end in sight. Nowadays, there is no need to lug around huge journals or to research nutritional menus to see how many calories you ate for lunch. There’s an app for that.
Applications, or “apps,” are programs you can download, typically at little or no charge, to your smartphone. The demand and use of weight-management apps have skyrocketed over the last few years, helping people better manage their weight. If you do not have access to a smartphone, have no fear! Most of the apps discussed in this post have a Web-based version you can access online; the two sync conveniently together.
“Which App is best for me?” This is a question I often receive while coaching health plan members. There are a lot of good apps on the market and finding one that best suits your needs can be a tough decision. You have to find one that you understand and can see yourself using. Here are a few of my favorites.
MyFitnessPal is a great free, all-around app. It has a searchable food database of more than 3.3 million items, which allows easy tracking. It also “learns” which foods you typically eat, making it easier to track the foods you eat. With this app, you can customize your diet profile to your unique weight loss goals, which makes it easy to see how many calories you’ve consumed or have left to consume. It even factors in exercise, if you decide to track this as well.
Much like MyFitness Pal, the free Lose It! app is a well-rounded tool. It lets you create personalized goals, but touches a bit more on total wellness. Besides diet and exercise, you can track sleep, measurements, macronutrients, and more. It also allows you to set up challenges with friends and find challenges in which to participate.
The free SparkPeople Web-based tracking system has tons of informational resources, online forums, fitness and exercise trackers, and articles and videos available at a click of the mouse. They recently released the SparkCoach app, which requires a monthly fee, and, if it is anything like their website, you won’t be disappointed.
Use what works
Tracking your calorie intake, building social support, and being able to look back at a log are all proven methods for successful weight management. Luckily, technology has made it much easier to accomplish this. The key is to find something you are willing to use on a daily basis.
Which weight-management app do you like the best? Tell us all about it in the comments section below. You can also learn more about weight management in our Health Center.